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August 9, 2022

Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

This savory, tomato-tinged, restaurant-style Mexican rice recipe could not be easier, and makes a killer side dish (just add beans!) or burrito filling.


large plate of restaurant style Mexican rice on a large plate with a large spoon.

Just An Easy, Homemade Mexican Rice Recipe

You know that super savory red rice that your favorite Mexican restaurant serves? Well, now you can make it at home, anytime the craving strikes. We’ve enlisted the seasoning help of our dearly beloved homemade taco seasoning blend to make sure that this pretty red rice (arroz rojo, in Spanish) is as loaded with flavor as it is brightly colorful. Pair it simply with beans, or use it as a base for any of your favorite Mexican recipes—burritos, tacos, burrito bowls, taco salad or really just about anything. When a side dish is this delectable, it’s worth building a meal around.

Ingredients for restaurant style Mexican rice shown in small bowls including rice, carrots, tomato sauce and taco seasoning

Simple Mexican Rice Ingredients

You don’t need anything super special to make this rice, and we’re pretty sure that our Mexican rice recipe is not too different from what your local Mexican restaurant serves up. Most Mexican rice recipes combine the same basic flavors to achieve the red-hued, deeply savory rice we all know and love:

  • Tomatoes. In this case, canned tomato sauce.

  • Rice. Nothing fancy here, just regular long-grain white rice.

  • Stock. A lot of the flavor of this rice comes from the simple trick of cooking it in stock instead of water. You can use vegetable stock to make this into a vegetarian Mexican rice recipe! Or use chicken stock, if that’s what you’ve got or prefer.

  • Seasonings. Taco seasoning (homemade, if you’ve got it), salt, and some carrots.

Rice shown toasted in a large pot.
toasted rice with stock, carrots and tomatoes shown in a large pot
restaurant style Mexican rice shown in a large pot being fluffed with a fork.
Restaurant style Mexican rice shown in a large pot topped with fresh cilantro

How Do You Make Mexican Rice From Scratch?

If you’ve ever made rice from scratch before, the method for making this Mexican rice recipe will seem very familiar. And if you haven’t, well, hop on in! Making rice is really easy, and you’ll be so pleased with your perfectly seasoned, fluffy, fresh red rice. This recipe is as easy as:

  1. Sauté the rice in a bit of oil and toast it a bit, just until it’s golden brown.

  2. Add the carrots, stock, tomato sauce, salt and taco seasoning.

  3. Bring the Mexican rice to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover the pot.

  4. Walk away for 20 minutes. Do not lift that lid!

  5. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork.

  6. Cover the pot of rice again and let it sit for five more minutes.

A large pot of mexican-style rice in a pot topped with cilantro

Ways to Use This Mexican Red Rice

Mexican rice is good with so many things, as we’ve mentioned. But it in burritos with any of your favorite fillings, or put out an array of toppings and use it as a base for a DIY burrito bowl dinner. Or, try it with one of these delicious Mexican restaurant-inspired recipes:

Mexican stye rice shown on a plate with a large spoon

Tools You’ll Need

More Rice Recipes to Try

Your Favorite Mexican Food, At Home

Going out is great, but there are certain restaurant dishes we love so much we want to be able to make them at home anytime we want. And Mexican rice falls solidly into that category. When you make this recipe, we’d love to hear about how you like it and how you served it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  30 min
  • Calories: 233


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups long grain rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup carrots, 1/8 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp homemade taco seasoning or 2 tsp store bought
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro, optional


In a medium sized non-stick pot heat vegetable oil over medium high heat until glistening. Add in rice and cook, stirring often, until rice is golden brown, about 7-8 minutes.

Add in carrots along with stock, tomato sauce, sea salt and taco seasoning. Stir to combine. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook rice for 20 minutes undisturbed until rice is tender. Remove from heat and uncover. Fluff with a fork, cover and allow to sit for 5 more minutes.

Stir in fresh cilantro if desired and serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories233
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates41 g
  • Total Fat6 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium316 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Karin

    Any tips for making this in a rice cooker? I don’t use, or own, a slow cooker or instapot.

    We haven't tried but imagine it would work fine, you could do the saute portion on the stove top then transfer to your rice cooker. Hope you enjoy Karin!

  • Donna

    surely you don't mean to chop the carrots at 1/8th inch.....

    Yes. You can see in the photos how small they are next to the rice. They are basically a very fine dice. They add a lot of flavor, but if there are any bigger than that, then they won't be tender when the rice is done.

  • Robbie

    Can you make the rice ahead and reheat it?


  • James

    Any recommendations on where to find a homemade taco seasoning?

    Our favorite homemade taco seasoning recipe is our own! :) Linked in the recipe ingredients, but here's the URL: Store bought is OK, too!

  • Dale

    Ingredient list didnt have amounts, how am i supposed to make a recipe without knowing how much to put in?

    Hi Dale, you need to scroll down to the ingredient list or hit the "jump to recipe" button at the top of the page. All amounts are listed on there :)

  • Joanna

    I cooked chicken in a dutch oven (350° for 2 hrs) - turned out great. I used flour tortillas bc that's what I had on hand + the Restaurant style rice. Everyone loved it!

    Thanks Joanna, so happy you loved it!

  • Tresa

    I made this for a family taco night and it was so simple and very good! I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil because it's what I had on hand and it still turned out great, thanks for the recipe!

    Thanks Tresa, glad you enjoyed it!